A recent campaign against Palestinian journalist Makbula Nasser, who was attacked on the front page of Israel’s most-read newspaper, was meant to strike fear in the hearts of Palestinian citizens of Israel — the fear of speaking out. That may have worked with previous generations.
Do you remember the neighborhood bully? The scary one who would hit anyone who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? Do you also remember what best characterized that bully? An ingenious lack of sophistication that you could see his next move coming from a mile away.
Earlier this week, Israel Hayom, Israel’s most-read newspaper, published a front-page political attack against Makbula Nassar, a Palestinian journalist, blogger at Local Call, and regular contributor to +972 Magazine. The attack-masquerading-as-journalism dug up old Facebook statuses in order to paint Nassar, who was recently hired to head a state-run road safety campaign for Israel’s Arab population, as a “prominent activist against the state.” Within a few hours, a senior government minister demanded she be fired.
Just like the neighborhood bully, Israel Hayom’s offensive against Nassar was embarrassingly transparent — she was merely a convenient distraction, and more fuel to feed the nationalist mechanisms of hatred toward anyone who thinks differently than “us.” In this story, however, Israel Hayom is more like an arch-bully in a neighborhood full of smaller bullies. The rest of the Israeli media isn’t much better, but this bully has a rich daddy — American casino baron Sheldon Adelson.
We, Palestinian citizens of Israel, need to understand that instead of simply lamenting our fate, and the fact that this particular bully’s patron will in all likelihood continue pouring his endless gambling fortune into his pet hate-mongering tabloid, we need to put these attacks into their proper proportions. We cannot allow this type of persecution to make us afraid.
Just like you can’t surrender to the neighborhood bully, we cannot let Adelson’s tabloid win, either. One of the primary goals of a witch hunt against whichever unfortunate Arab finds her or himself in the crosshairs is to sew fear in the hearts of the rest of Israel’s Palestinian citizens, god forbid they start to believe they are human beings equal to Jewish Israelis or something crazy like that.
My heart goes out to every Palestinian citizen of Israel who happens to be a civil servant — or to those who work...Read More